Greece: Business Mentees Take Bold Next Step

February 28, 2019

Greece: Business Mentees Take Bold Next Step

Small-business owners across Greece are building their productivity and business savvy with IOCC’s support. Photo: IOCC/Konstantinos Tsakalidis.


“You woke us up from dreaming about success and helped us … take real actions,” said Athina, a small-business owner participating in IOCC’s business-mentoring program in Athens, Greece.

Through IOCC and Apostoli’s collaboration with the executives of Kemel, a Greek nonprofit dedicated to supporting businesses, Greek microenterprises are being mentored to boost productivity and profitability.

This microenterprise near Thessaloniki creates etchings on carefully cut marble—and the owners are growing their souvenir sales. Photo: IOCC/Konstantinos Tsakalidis.

Mentees have now completed their first business plans. Volunteer mentors have helped assess what each business can do and where they have room to grow: some mentees will need marketing guidance, while others are ready to expand sales to other European countries.

A crucial lesson for these entrepreneurs is that they can’t increase sales by focusing on quality alone. One business was unable to keep up with increasing orders because the company didn’t have the appropriate equipment and struggled with prioritizing. Through the IOCC project, the owners received a new machine, plus mentoring that encouraged them to commit to a larger premises where they can grow their production capacity.

Successful sales of the final product combine quality artisanship with 21st-century business know-how. Photo: IOCC/Konstantinos Tsakalidis.

“For the first time I don’t feel I am alone in this,” said mentee Vasilis. “I feel confident [enough] to disengage myself from the production process and [concentrate on] implementing my business plan and promoting my company.”